Ryan Sawyer is a good cat. He's a Texas native who has been living and making art in NYC since the late 90s. He's worked extensively with artists such as Nate Wooley, Thurston Moore, Daniel Carter & Rhys Chatham and is on the verge of releasing the first record under his own name, a record of music for solo drums and voice produced by Shahzad Ismaily. For this talk Ryan takes me through his childhood in Texas, where as a teenager he got to interview Max Roach and Mike D, as well as study with Clark Terry. A good talk.
2013 started with a tremendous deal of heartbreak and sadness for many people in and around Athens, GA as Craig Lieske passed away, suddenly, on January 18th. Craig was a pillar of the Athens creative community- He was a crucial figure who not only possessed incredible musicianship, but also took great delight in bringing people together and engaging in deep conversation. Craig was the first person with whom I ever improvised and it was Craig who turned me on to, among other things, the music of Evan Parker, John Zorn and Derek Bailey. For the final podcast of 2013, and in honor of what would have been Craig's 49th birthday, I travelled to Athens, GA and spoke with several of Craig's closest friends and musical colleagues. In this episode we hear from Mitchell King, Tony Evans, Jeff Rieter, Jim Wilson & Chris Herron as we share personal remembrances and stories of Craig.
Special thanks to Sloan Simpson at Southern Shelter.
John King is a remarkable composer and multi-instrumentalist who has been a mainstay of downtown experimentalism since the mid 70s. He studied with Morton Subotnik at Cal Arts and worked closely with Merce Cunningham all the way up until he passed away in 2009. For this talk John takes me on a stroll through his personal history, making stops along the way with John Cage, Olivier Messiaen and Charles Wuorinen. This is a good one.
Ava Mendoza is a delightful gal who just moved from the Bay Area to Brooklyn. Her guitar tone is enviable and she makes powerful music that comes directly from her heart. For this talk we welcome Ava to NYC with a glass of wine and some good old fashioned fat chewing. Ava is the real deal and I am glad that she is now calling NYC her home.
Marc Urselli is a three time Grammy Award winning producer and audio engineer. He is a first call cat and has worked closely with John Zorn, Mike Patton, Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson. For this talk Marc and I trace his personal history and how he became an audio Jedi as well as the current state of the music business and how people's attitudes towards making records is changing and not necessarily for the better. This is a really good one with a guy who knows how to make great records.
William Parker is a virtuosic bass player, a lifelong New Yorker, an historian, an improviser, an intrepid world traveler, a thinker & philospher, a community organizer, a husband & father and a damn fine human being. I feel honored beyond words to share this conversation that took place on a cool crisp morning in late October in which we cover a LOT of ground. William has led a life dedicated to creativity, expression and growth and in this conversation he shares a wealth of knowledge and wisdom.
Shane Perlowin and Ryan Oslance are Ahleuchatistas. They play guitar and drums, respectively, and are two seriously talented and sincere guys. In the middle of a national tour, they came over to my house the morning after a blazing set at the Bowery Electric for bagels, coffee and some real talk. This is a good one that goes to some real places.
Kevin Hufnagel is a musician of startling virtuosity and creativity. He plays guitar in Dysrhythmia, Gorguts and Vaura and he came by in August for a run-down on his personal history as well as to swap stories about Papa Roach, touring and the current Brooklyn metal scene. He's a solid cat with a good story to tell.
Get ready for one gnarly podcast. Josh Sinton is a heavy dude with heavy chops and a heavy heart to match. For this talk Josh and I skip the formalities and get right into it, leaving no personal details out as we discuss his personal history, frustration, depression, disappointment, creativity, life, love and music. This is a good one and I hope that you all enjoy it.
Darius Jones is a saxophonist with a big sound and a big heart. He came by on a blazing hot day in August and we sat down to discuss, among other things, his upbringing in Virginia, awakening ones humanity, what he's learned from the great Cooper-Moore and the film "Drive". This is a good talk with a creative guy who is pushing himself to make soulful and authentic music.
Matthew Welch, Jason Cady and Aaron Siegel are Experiments In Opera. They are all gifted composers & performers and since January 2012 they have been staging large scale productions of new works, as an organization, for music and voice in New York City. For this talk we sat at my dining table with a round of strong black coffee and discussed their upcoming production Chorus of All Souls, the nuts and bolts of running an upstart opera organization and their individual approaches to the medium. I found this talk to be incredibly insightful & inspiring and I am delighted to share it with you.
Nick Millevoi is a solid cat. In addition to playing guitar in Philly's Many Arms, Nick co-leads the Archer Spade Duo with Daniel Blacksberg and just returned from a month-long solo tour of Europe. For this talk Nick and I explore how seeing the film "Wayne's World" at age eight led him to his current face melting brand of avant rock. A good talk with a good dude.
Born in Korea and raised in the United States, Ha-Yang Kim is a cellist and composer of starting sensitivity and feel. Her first record, "Ama", was released by Tzadik in 2007 and she has traveled the world performing in a variety of settings. For this talk Ha-Yang and I discuss her time at NEC, dealing with loss and the importance of following one's inner voice.
It is an honor and privilege to be able to share this conversation with cellist & composer Erik Friedlander. A vital member of New York's music scene, Erik is currently celebrating the release of his breathtaking new CD "Claws & Wings" and getting ready to set up shop for a week long residency at the Stone. For this talk Erik and I discuss the creative process, his 20+ year long working relationship with John Zorn, self releasing music and dealing with loss. This is a great talk with a sweet guy who plays from his heart.
To say that it's an honor to present this episode would be a grotesque understatement. I have been a fan of JG Thirlwell's work - Foetus, Manorexia, Steroid Maximus, etc- since I was fifteen years old. JG has two new albums coming out this month, "SOAK" and his chamber soundtrack to the film “The Blue Eyes”. For this conversation JG tells me about his early days in Melbourne, his time in London in the late 70s and his move to New York, where he's been blowing minds for the past three decades. JG Thirlwell, HELL YES.
Sam Kulik is one of a kind. There is literally no else like him. He has panache, style and debonair and he answers to no man. He is also a man with whom I have spent many hours shedding and honing a voice as an improviser. For this talk Sam and I go deep, uncovering many mysteries and getting back to the love of music. A good one to be sure.
Steve Lehman is an accomplished saxophonist and composer who has studied with Anthony Braxton, George Lewis and Tristan Murail. In addition to his own bands Fieldwork (with Vijay Iyer & Tyshawn Sorey) and the Steve Lehman Trio & Octet, he has worked with the ensembles ICE and Wet Ink. For this conversation Steve tells me about his upbringing, his time at Columbia and we discuss balancing a life of composition, improvisation, gigging and education.
In the field of free improvisation few musicians are as distinguished or as outspoken as guitarist Joe Morris. Active for over three decades as an improviser, band leader and educator Joe has traveled the world in a constant search to evolve his ideas and further his musicianship. For this conversation Joe takes me through his personal history as we discuss the spirit of improvisation, the role of teachers in the lives of young people and what it means to live honestly. This is a good talk with a heavy dude.
Vicky Chow is a concert pianist of stunning virtuosity and sensitivity. Not yet even 30, she performs regularly with the Bang on a Can All Stars and has premiered music by Steve Reich, Tristan Perich and many others. For this talk we trace how a classical prodigy made her way from the traditional repertoire to the modern.
Matthew Shipp is a pianist of stunning virtuosity and personality. Since his move to New York in 1984 he has made a signifcant impact on the city's improvised and jazz scenes. For this conversation Matt and I get real, very real, as we talk about everything from his time as a nude model for art classes, his tenure with the David S. Ware Quartet, professional wrestling and the challenges of being a creative musician in 2013. This is a lively and raw talk that I am happy to present. Matt is the real thing.